Dr. Richard Sackler, the former Purdue Pharma president and board member, testified in federal bankruptcy court yesterday, Wednesday, over the bankruptcy proceedings for Purdue Pharma. A defiant Sackler declared that neither he, his family, nor his now defunct company, had any blame for America’s current opioid epidemic.
The statements came just one day after David Sackler, Dr. Richard Sackler’s son, appeared in court on Tuesday and threatened that the family would drop out of its settlement deal related to the opioid epidemic. He insisted that the $4.5 billion settlement would only move forward if all of the people associated with it received the immunity from further actions that had previously been promised as part of the deal.
When asked directly, “Do you have any responsibility for the opioid crisis in the United States?” The 76 year old Dr. Sackler replied, “No.”
When asked, “Does the Sackler family have any responsibility for the opioid crisis in the United States?” he again said no.
When asked, “Does Purdue Pharma have any responsibility for the opioid crisis in the United States?” he again replied “no.”
When asked if he personally would be contributing any of his own money to billions to be paid out in the Pharma settlement deal, Sackler replied, “I don’t know. I don’t believe that’s been decided yet.”
Last November Purdue Pharma pled guilty for its part in America’s opioid crisis. The company was branded as a “pusher” for its OxyContin pain killer. Purdue Pharma had been charged with paying doctors kickbacks to get them to prescribe more of its pain killers. This was done in spite of knowledge about how addictive they were. Purdue’s chairman Steve Miller admitted that the company knowingly supplied OxyContin to doctors who were suspected of illegally prescribing the drug while telling the DEA that it was working to do just the opposite.
In June it was reported that the Sackler Family may get a bankruptcy deal approved by the courts which would leave it immune from civil suits related to its confessed pushing of opioid pain killers. At the time. A federal judge in White Plains, N.Y, moved the bankruptcy deal ahead, over strenuous objections.
The immunity part of the deal would apply to dozens of Sackler family members, more than 160 financial trusts, and at least 170 companies, consultants and other entities associated with the Sackler family.